I am trying to compare Google Docs's Drawings with Mac's Preview, and if I can have a canvas, such as a white one with 1200 x 800 pixel, then I can start drawing rounded rectangles, lines, and text.

However, there is no way to get a new blank document of 1200 x 800 pixel wide to begin drawing. Somehow it seems I have to find such an image, make a "copy" (the copy in copy-and-paste), and then "Paste from Clipboard".

Is there some special or secret method or good method to create such a new document to draw on?

  • 1
    Preview is not a drawing app, might be easier to use Keynote for things like that, or a dedicated application.
    – nohillside
    Dec 15 '19 at 14:14
  • 1
    does Keynote actually let you draw rounded square, add line and text? Preview actually is quite nice in drawing those items Dec 15 '19 at 14:24
  • 1
    Give it a try :-) Or create an empty PDF and use this as a template.
    – nohillside
    Dec 15 '19 at 14:33
  • 1
    I concur: Preview is not a Drawing App. There are plenty of apps built specifically for drawing, depending on what you need: OmniGraffle, Graphic, Inkscape, Affinity Designer, etc, etc.
    – benwiggy
    Dec 15 '19 at 16:24

This is exactly what a document template on macOS is intended to do. You make one document then flag it. Next time you open it (from automation, script, recents, finder) it creates a new empty document with precisely the setup you want.

Even though Apple documents this clearly and plainly, I suspect most people find it a “secret trick” or hidden gem once they have an itch like yours that needs scratching.

  • so this feature is like, if you have a file called blank 1200 x 800.png, then once you make it "Stationery", if you double click to open it, then that file will copy to blank 1200 x 800 Copy.png for you to edit, and the original file can remain un-edited. Next time if you double click that file again, the newly created file will become blank 1200 x 800 Copy 2.png Dec 15 '19 at 15:58

There is one method:

  1. simply look at any webpage with some blank space or even with content.
  2. Do a screenshot by Cmd Shift 4, and then dragging the mouse
  3. Now you have a screenshot (default location of the file is Desktop)
  4. Double click it, and now you are in Preview
  5. Use Preview's Tools -> Adjust Size to get your desired size. Make sure you don't use "Proportional" if you want any ratio such as 1200 x 800 or 1600 x 800
  6. You can click the Drawing toolbar out, and choose a Rectangle shape, and drag the top-left and bottom-right corner to cover the whole canvas (it helps if you de-magnify to make the image smaller than the window first)
  7. Choose a background color, such as white or off-white
  8. Better save this file as PNG using File -> Export, and
  9. Make duplicates of this file now or in the future when you start drawing

enter image description here


Since Preview can only create a new document from its File menu item New from Clipboard ⌘N, here is a workaround suggestion.

Create an 1200 x 800 pixel graphic image in your favorite graphic imaging app and save it as e.g. 1200 x 800 Template.png to your e.g. Pictures folder. Then in Finder select the file and press ⌘I to show its Get Info sheet. Under the General section, lock the file, [√] Locked and close the Get Info sheet.

You can then open the file in any of the various ways a file can be opened.

With the e.g. 1200 x 800 Template opened in Preview start editing it, something that actually makes a change to it and as as soon as you do, you'll get a message e.g.:

enter image description here

Then click the Duplicate button and you have your new document and the template is left unchanged, providing you did not unlock it.

Going forward, you'll always have the 1200 x 800 Template.png to easily create a new document from in Preview.


Some workarounds:

  • Use Word online for empty PDF, https://overleaf.com etc, or any command line tool to make a PDF from LaTeX.

  • Use the white box to cover all of the PDF and draw over it. But it will occasionally get selected instead of the shapes you might be drawing.

  • Click a white photo, edit it in photos app and using Preview, export it as PDF.

  • Take a png, Preview takes PNG as white, instead of transparent and export it as PDF.

  • Use tools made for drawing like https://www.sketchbook.com or photoshop or online sketchers.

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